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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Apr;90(4):2364-9. Epub 2005 Jan 25.

Dose-dependent generation of RET/PTC in human thyroid cells after in vitro exposure to gamma-radiation: a model of carcinogenic chromosomal rearrangement induced by ionizing radiation.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cincinnati, 231 Albert Sabin Way, P.O. Box 670529, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0529, USA.


Ionizing radiation is a well-known risk factor for thyroid cancer in human populations. Chromosomal rearrangements involving the RET gene, known as RET/PTC, are prevalent in thyroid papillary carcinomas from patients with radiation history. We studied the generation of RET/PTC in HTori-3 immortalized human thyroid cells exposed to a range of doses of gamma-radiation and harvested 2, 5-6, and 9 d later. RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 were detected by RT-PCR followed by Southern blotting and hybridization with internal oligonucleotide probes. No RET/PTC was found in cells harvested 2 and 5-6 d after irradiation, whereas 59 RET/PTC events were detected in cells collected 9 d after exposure. The average rate of RET/PTC induction was 0.1 x 10(-6) after exposure to 0.1 Gy, 1.6 x 10(-6) after 1 Gy, 3.0 x 10(-6) after 5 Gy, and 0.9 x 10(-6) after 10 Gy. When adjusted for cell survival, the rate after 10 Gy was comparable with those after 5 Gy. RET/PTC1 was more common than RET/PTC3 after each dose, comprising 80% of all rearrangements. In this study, we demonstrate a dose-dependent induction of RET/PTC rearrangements in human thyroid cells after exposure to 0.1-10 Gy gamma-radiation. This provides additional evidence for a direct link between this genetic event and radiation exposure and offers a powerful experimental system for studying radiation-induced carcinogenesis in the thyroid gland.

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